Forces exerted by locomoting cells

Semin Cell Biol. 1994 Jun;5(3):139-47. doi: 10.1006/scel.1994.1018.


The movement of cells along substrata is a complex phenomenon involving cell extension and retraction, and cell-substratum adhesion. Knowledge is beginning to accumulate about the forces required for cell protrusion and retraction. Both of these processes also require traction to be exerted on the substratum, and new assays for these forces are under development. This review briefly discusses the forces that locomotory cells exert, in terms of both recent force measurements and possible mechanisms for their generation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Chemotaxis / physiology*
  • Connective Tissue / physiology
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Humans
  • Surface Tension


  • Actins